Phoenix Suns' Alec Brown: In the Fast Lane

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports


A quick case to "fast track" Phoenix Suns prospect Alec Brown from unknown to asset.

At the 2014 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns selected Alec Brown in the second round, pick number 50, out of UW-Green Bay.
The 7'1" 231-pound small forward Center came into the draft with a lot of things to improve on, as do most young, baby-faced prospects. Weight, strength, weight, and especially weight were out in front in terms of elements that are most critical in order for him to have a plausible chance at cracking an NBA rotation. Something that might allow him an opportunity in the league down the road? The kid can stroke it.

48.4 FG% / 50.0 2P% / 44.6 3P% / 75.7 FT% (2.8 Blocks PG)

The plan was set in stone for Brown:

  • Get drafted by the Phoenix Suns - check.
  • Get evaluated during summer league - pending.
  • Get shipped to some unknown alternate reality, (or European / Australian league team) for seasoning - TBA.
  • Get re-evaluated / called up to the Suns' D-League affiliate - TBA.
  • Get an opportunity to suit up in the Purp 'n Orange - TBA.

This process could, potentially, bring Phoenix a system-built prototype stretch 4 in a few years precisely when Phoenix would need to fill a debilitating void created by the departure of Suns-for-life type players who are currently assisting in the hunt for that elusive first championship. A perfect, neat, cute little bow. And Then -

Personally, The Orlando Magic Acquisition of Channing Frye was like that morning I woke up as a kid, looked to my mother as she handed me a couple of nicely wrapped Christmas presents, and told me there was no Santa Claus.
"What do you mean Santa Claus Channing Frye is gone!?!? WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THIS!?!?" So many broken hearts.

More importantly, Channing Frye being a member of the Orlando magic at 8 million bucks a year painted two pictures, very clearly.

  1. Stretch-Bigs are a rare and valuable commodity in today's NBA, and because of that, they're going to get paid outside of the "normal" market value - higher than they should be. I mean, for his minutes played, rebound rate, block rate, and even points produced, outside of his "specialist" game aspect, would you pay a power forward like Channing 8M per year, at that age?
  2. Uh, Phoenix don't have a stretch-big to continue to allow the Hornacek-spread offense to drive defenses into the ground. Oh Shit.


Whatever the specialty, the market says you're going to pay big time money for power forwards who enable your offense the tools required to do great things.

Boris Diaw got 7 million per year to go back to the San Antonio Spurs.
Spencer Hawes got 6 million per year to join the Los Angeles Clippers.
Channing Frye and his 8 million per year to join the Orlando Magic.
Gordon Hayward just got a 63 million dollar offer sheet from Charlotte, as I was putting this together.

If Phoenix truly thought they were in position to get a home "discount" from Frye, they were mistaken. It also shows that the Suns might not be able to just bring in his replacement on a low-dollar deal via the free agent market.
The alternative, as an immediate stop-gap measure, would be to upgrade the position by putting a package together for Kevin Love, which may crush your depth - fix a problem by creating a problem.

You could always insert 1st round pick Adre - wait. You can't do that either. Smooches, T.J. Warren.


The best immediate course of action might be to speed up the evolutionary arc of the Suns' own late-2nd round pick.

All of those people who didn't like Channing so much, (and there were a lot of them), might actually get behind a youngster who could come in, shoot it, not rebound much because of his role, and not really do much else besides keep the offense humming and getting a blocked shot and / or a rebound here or there.

The video shows you what he is right now - a shooter: From deep, from the elbow, from the baseline. All of the areas he would need to be in per the Hornacek system, without being in the way of anybody else.
You can't teach 7'1 / 7'1 (wingspan), and he might even be able to contribute as a weak-side defender.


His first hurdle to the express lane begins in Las Vegas. He's going to have the opportunity to "Robin" a couple of interior "Batmans" playing alongside a beefy Alex Len and a frothy Miles Plumlee. He's going to have slashing guards and small forwards around him in T.J. Warren / Archie Goodwin, as well as a sleek and smart point guard prospect in Tyler Ennis.

Offensively, all the kid needs to do is keep that big man out of the way, slide left or right, and bury 3s at a 40% clip. That's it. Defensively, all he needs to do is show that he can defend without "Markieff Morris-ing" the opposition picking up 1 foul every 3.5 seconds.


If successful in the Summer, Alec could evade Europe altogether. An assignment in the Suns' Developmental affiliate would be a huge fast-forward for the young man and would provide some stability for a Suns team who could call on him to provide spacing, if they team can't / won't SHOULD NOT EVER overpay for a Frye replacement.

For those thinking that this could be a little bit crazy, all you have to do is go back to the end of last year's Summer League, and re-examine the deal that brought a red-shirt rookie from the Indiana Pacers and turned him into a starting center for a 48-win playoff chasing team. It can be done.

You're also not "developing 2 of the same young player" in regards to a now famous Ryan McDonough quote, as Alec Brown would only need to learn how to set a decent screen, if he doesn't know how already, and fade left / right / back into position to start earning his sniper badge.


If he handles it and excels, you've got either a rotation player or another asset on a very cap-friendly deal. You've also got somebody who allows you an option that avoids tying up cap space better served for big game hunting next off-season.

May as well give him a shot. I hope that the combination of Len / Plumlee & Brown obliterates summer league. I'll be paying close attention.


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